Let me tell an anxiety filled story, that may or may not keep you at the edge of your seat. It certainly did for me, but mostly because I had to rush to make it to my plane. Literally. I recently went to Chicago and Toronto (queue in “I quit my job and went travelling blogs”). My flight to Chicago was via Los Angeles and departing from Auckland Airport around 1.00pm. If you know me personally, you’ll know that I like to make it to the airport with enough time on hand. And when lounge access is involved, you can add an hour extra to that time because well you have to make the most of the lounge, right? As I like to know all the details in advance, I prefer booking a shuttle to the airport as they charge you a flat fee, rather than an Uber or a taxi where you have a metered fare and can only guestimate how much it’s going to cost. In addition, the shuttle is also the cheapest and there’s now way an Uber or a taxi can beat that price, well Uber may be able to but taxi most definitely wont.
The night before my flight I was preparing all my documents etc. and booked my shuttle to the airport as well as the one back from the airport upon my return. When you book a shuttle to the airport, it gives you a time based on your departure, which is the expected procedure. What I wasn’t expecting however was for them to give me an estimated pick up time of 11.00am given my flight is at 1pm and that it is almost a 45-minute drive to the airport from my place. I shrugged it off hoping that it would just be an estimate and that they would come closer to the time.
To my disbelief, in the morning I received a text to say that the shuttle is running a bit behind schedule and now my estimated pick up time would be around 11.15am. Panic time. I called up the customer service line and requested for an earlier pick up time, however I had no alternate options. I was told that I was the last pick up and then straight to the airport it was. I went outside at exactly the time they mentioned and there’s no sight of a van. I’m not really sure what to do at this stage. I need to mentally prepare for the fact that I’m about to miss out on business class flights. Yup. A little after 11.20am is when the van shows up and I’m sitting in the van hoping and praying that there is no traffic.
I’m constantly checking the ETA on the screen in the van, it suggests 12pm. Sure, I’ll take that. I wanted to make sure that I arrived at the airport at least a few minutes over an hour prior to departure as some airlines close check-in counters around this time and I couldn’t afford to miss this. Whilst I had already checked-in online the night before, I had to print two boarding passes (AKL-LAX, LAX-ORD) and needed to drop off my checked-in luggage. We got to the airport at 12.05pm.
I ran to the priority check-in counter for American Airlines and luckily there were still a couple of people in that line. My turn to check-in comes up and I hope and pray that I don’t hear something I really don’t want to. But the man behind the counter was nice and checked me in and ran me through the procedure that I need to follow at LAX and most importantly, he said, that I could use the Qantas Lounge. Not that I didn’t already know that, but to hear those words makes you feel wonderful. By the time I had checked myself in and made my way upstairs to go through security, it was 12.20pm. I made it past the security by 12.30pm and walked as fast as I could to the other end of the airport to go and at least breathe lounge air. I made it in around 12.40pm. I managed to get me a serving of a salad and that was all that I had time for.
I gobbled up the food and about 5minutes later I was on my way to the gate. At this point, I was still in shock that I had actually made it through and was on my way to board the flight. If you’d asked me that question an hour before on that very same day, I probably would have said that, that was going to be the impossible. American Airlines boards you by group numbers rather than rows. Being on Business Class meant I was in group 1 and as soon as the announcement was made I got into the priority lane and made my way in. Words cannot express the relief that I felt sitting in the plane. I had made it. I was going to be pampered for the next 12 hours to LA.
Have you ever been in a similar situation, whether it be flight related or something else? Tell me!
Until next time,